Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PHILIP KEARNY, by THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH



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PHILIP KEARNY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Though they summon forth the people
Last Line: On thy storied field, chantilly.
Subject(s): Kearny, Philip (1814-1862)


Though they summon forth the people
By the bells in spire and steeple --
Though their guardsmen proudly come,
Timing tread to beat of drum --
Though in sunlight flashes steel,
And the brazen cannon peal --
Though are uttered in his praise
Sounding words and polished phrase --
Though his form in bronze they bare
To the sunlight and the air --
Fitter is the tribute when
Some one of his former men,
Dwelling on the hero's fame,
Slow and reverent breathes his name --
Kearny! At the well-known word
All around are thrilled and stirred:
Then, in silence absolute,
Voice through depth of feeling mute,
To the soul these tokens speak,
Flash in eye and flush on cheek,
Volumes of their loving pride
In the hero grand who died
On thy fatal field, Chantilly.

When with laurels we adorn him,
Dead, our hero, who shall mourn him?
Who for Kearny drops a tear
Let his footsteps come not here.
Tears are only shed for those
Who their lives ignobly close;
But for one who undismayed
Drew within a cause his blade,
And, at Honor's potent call,
Fell when duty bade him fall,
Loudly let your voices ring,
Garlands for his statue bring,
Keep his memory green for years;
But for him no tears -- no tears!
So we honor Kearny now --
Kearny of the open brow,
Peer of Roland and the Cid
In the daring deeds he did;
Who the battle carried through
Single arm, but heart of two,
And, on that immortal day,
Like a meteor flashed his way
O'er thy bloody field, Chantilly.

For this soldier, cool and fearless,
In the storm of battle peerless,
Honor, loving such as he,
Shaped his glorious destiny,
Gave him in her beams to bask,
Gave him all that brave men ask,
Favors never ceased to pour
Till his cup of fame ran o'er,
Then, with nothing more to give,
Bade her favorite cease to live.
Though in mould the soldier sleep,
Earth may well his body keep;
Bury his faults there too; on those
Let the ground forever close;
But his nobler qualities,
Death has naught to do with these.
Heart attuned to any fate,
Should it come through love or hate;
Soul disdaining all things mean;
Sense of honor sharp and keen,
Lofty spirit, courage high --
These at least could never die
On thy storied field, Chantilly.





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